The Polish influence is shown with pride in Milwaukee, home to generations of immigrants.
In "Memorializing Kosciuszko" on Milwaukee Public Television, Raul Galvan wanted to weave the story of the American Gen. Tadeusz Kosciuszko and the current-day restoration work done on his monument in Kosciuszko Park.
"A group approached us, telling us about raising the funds needed to restore the statue," Galvan said. "We knew of Kosciuszko, but after we talked to them, we felt it was great for a long-form documentary."
The half-hour presentation tells of the general’s involvement with George Washington during the American Revolution, and his dedication to the new country that he came to serve. When he returned to the U.S. to collect the back pay owed to him by the U.S. military, he asked Thomas Jefferson that the nearly $20,000 be used to purchase freedom for slaves, including the ones owned by Jefferson.
In 1905, the area Polish community commissioned Italian sculptor Gaetano Trentanove for a monument. In 2008, a group of local residents raised more than $400,000 to restore the statue that took on wind, rain and snow damage in the past 100 years. Funding for "Memorializing Kosciuszko" was raised through online crowdfunding efforts, which was a first for MPTV.
The special will air at 9 p.m. Monday on MPTV Ch. 10 and sub-channel 36.2. It will be re-broadcast on Friday at 10:30 p.m. on MPTV Ch. 10 and 36.2 and Feb. 8 at 10:05 p.m., Feb. 9 at 11:33 a.m. and Feb. 11 at 4:33 a.m. on MPTV Ch. 36.
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